Have You Ever Heard Of Toad Of Toad Hall?

Wind In The Willows, respectful workplacesHe was created by a wonderful British author called Kenneth Grahame in 1908, in a book called, The Wind in the Willows.

It was my favourite book growing up (I’m not so old that I had a first edition…..just so you know!).

Toad lived in a grand house along the side of a river, and the entire book is filled with stories of how he interacts with the other characters living along the riverbank, and in the nearby forest.

Their relationships are often fractious, disrespectful with periods of mild mannered behaviour, along with acts of random kindness. Quite the range of emotions really.

The other main characters are a mole, a rat, and a badger.

I loved reading about their exploits, particularly when Toad became so unpredictable in his behaviour. He would often be found running all over the place getting into trouble because he was generally not thinking clearly about either what he was saying, or doing. And then, just when you thought you had him figured out, he would do something else unpredictable, and often annoying.

Does that sound anything like a workplace you have experienced?

The sense of camaraderie between the four main animals is strong throughout the book, but there are times when they want to completely disown Toad for his random behaviour.

Within our workplaces, we like predictability in our co-workers. We like to know where we stand in those relationships and not have to figure out what the relationships look like each day when we come to work. The stress that can be created within such a workplace, leads to only one place. And it’s not pretty.

The book ends well, but you are fortunate when reading it since (if you dare) you can simply skip the bits where you find your stomach tightening, and open the last few pages to find out that everything works out for everyone.

You can’t do that at work.

When your co-workers are being disrespectful, or are participating in bullying or harassing behaviour towards you, or others in the workplace, you find yourself not wanting to be there in order to avoid them. You don’t have the luxury of flipping to the end to see what happens to everyone in the last chapter.

What do you do instead?

Some employees will suffer in silence.

Some employees will leave.

And some employees actually deal with it.

The amazing thing is that when people give themselves the opportunity of actually sitting down with the person who is bullying them, remarkable things can happen.

All of a sudden, the story gets better.

Instead of wanting to put the book down, you now can’t wait for the sequel to be published, so you can read more.

Why is it some stories end in tears, and some end in smiles? And how does that happen?

The recently introduced WorkSafeBC Regulations dealing with workplace bullying and harassment are designed to regulate our workplaces, so that the stories that are told can end with more smiles, and less tears.